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NORTH TONAWANDA – Recent state approval of the city’s plan to attract more people to its waterfront – with amenities that include restaurants, an improved marina and rest-rooms at parks – is a signal that government funding will be easier to get for development projects.

“You’re ahead of the game when you have this checked off the list. You move up in the line,” Common Council President Rich Andres said Tuesday evening after a Council workshop meeting.

A summary of the updated “Local Waterfront Revitalization Program,” presented by Lumber City Development Corp. coordinator Michael Zimmerman, highlights goals and strategies for moving the city’s image and focus away from the heavy- industry “dumping grounds” of its past, Andres said. “We’re well past that.”

The aim is to encourage people from all around Western New York to think of the city as a place to have dinner, hike, bike and enjoy the Erie Canal and the Niagara River. So the plan’s goals and strategies include:

• Finding ways to soften the industrial look of River Road.

• Improving public access to the water and finding a balance between public and private docks, launches and boathouses.

• Working with the Town and City of Tonawanda to promote the Erie Canal.

• Expanding parks along the shore.

• Protecting shore habitats.

“We’re reinventing ourselves as a destination,” Andres said.

email: mkearns@buffnews.com